Are you sick of carols and candy and snowmen yet? Well, hang in there, you have a few more weeks to go. If you lived back in the day, Christmas would last until January 7th, the 12th day after the supposed birth of Christ, and that was the time for giving gifts. I say supposed because science has shown the shepherds didn’t sleep in the snow with the sheep in winter. Everyone was indoors at that time of year. Spring was the time when the lambs were born and the guardians of the flock went on overtime.
Between the religious observances, the commercial onslaught, the crazy relatives, and the parties every weekend, you might wonder how this all began. And maybe you would be surprised to know so many of the customs evolved way before most modern religions. And why did this all happen? Because ice ages turned much of the world into a winter wonderland of cold, hunger, illness, and isolation. Celebrating light and evergreens and just because seemed like a good idea at the time.
Our word for December is wonderland.
- a land of wonders or marvels.
- a wonderful country or region: a wonderland of rare plants and flowers; a winter wonderland. Origin of wonderland First recorded in 1780–90; wonder + -land
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Related Words for wonderland: utopia, heaven, bliss, wonderland, paradise, nirvana, immortality, Eden, delight, felicity, Shangri-la, Arcadia, Zion, ballpark, perfection, dreamland, fairyland, Erewhon, kingdom, atmosphere
British Dictionary definitions for wonderland
- an imaginary land of marvels or wonders
- an actual place or scene of great or strange beauty or wonder
Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for wonderland
n.”imaginary realm,” 1790, from wonder + land (n.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
I love the idea that our characters live in their own wonderland, a place where they have the things they treasure in a home that means a lot to them. They have pets, they have careers, they have hobbies. And in Romances, they find love. In Crazy for Trying, Adam can’t tell Valerie how he feels about her because he’s dealing with dangerous people. If he keeps his distance, he thinks he can keep her safe. She believes she is old and unattractive and unlovable, which is reinforced by his attitude. And even if he did tell her the truth, she can’t risk loving again. The pain of loss is still sharp in her memories. Yet they strive together for a wonderland where they can resolve all these issues.
In the third book in the Surrey Ridge series, of which Crazy for Trying is the first, Crazy for Loving You has germaphobe Perry falling in love against his better instincts with a woman who has children from her first marriage. Dirty, snotty, loving children who want him to hold them. His PTSD has him running away from her and her needs, but in spite of that, the wonderland of a caring family brings him back again and again.
What are your fictional wonderlands? Where do your characters feel the best emotions and happy vibes? And where do you feel best supported as a writer? One of the best things about National Novel Writing Month (no, I didn’t win, but wait until Camp NaNo in April!) is the sense of community. And the regional events which are how I found my Wednesday writing group. Also, Scribophile is the place where I can daily find other writers interested in Romance writing and reading and critiquing. If you don’t have a support system of writers, you might not be trying hard enough. We have people in Writers Who Love Romance who live in Germany, Australia, and the wilds of Canada. So give it a try.
Find your wonderland as a writer, and extend that to your imaginary friends. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.